Ramos Bechara: Bikes are essential to a successful off-campus living experience


Joshua Hoffman

For an off-campus commuter, early-morning grinds and faraway day trips feel a lot less daunting from behind the front wheel of a bike.

Diego Ramos Bechara, Web Editor

Picture this: you live in an off-campus apartment in Evanston for the last three weeks of the summer after your freshman year, and your life savior? A bicycle. 

Life is great. You’re living with some friends, you can blast Nicki Minaj as loud as you want without drawing attention from your resident assistant, you stay up watching movies until 3 a.m. and Northwestern is paying you to be a tour guide. 

Everything’s great, as long as you remember to wake up early for your 9 a.m. tours. Every morning on tour day, you set your alarm for 7 a.m. so you have enough time to shower, eat breakfast and make it to the office at 8:45 a.m.

Now, picture this as a … somewhat less hypothetical situation. Did I wake up at 7 a.m. every day this summer? Oftentimes, I kept on hitting snooze and didn’t wake up. When that happened, I only had 15 minutes to get back to campus and greet incoming families. 

But my ever-faithful bike saved the day. 

Thus, my point. Bikes are essential to having a successful off-campus living experience.

Every single day of my summer, my bike saved me. I could travel the four blocks from the Carlson Building to Segal Visitors Center in under five minutes. I’d wake up late, bike there with a bit of time to spare and even make a quick coffee for the road.

My bike wasn’t just useful in helping me get to work on time; it established a routine. I knew just how much time it would take me to get from point A to point B, and the swiftness involved from getting to those points made me actually stick with biking every day. 

With a limited lunch break, it often wasn’t possible to go back to the apartment for a quick bite before my next tour. But with my bike that issue could be averted. I could finish a tour, get back to my apartment in five minutes, have 35 minutes to make a quick lunch, take a nap and then get back with 15 minutes to spare.

Wanted to go to Peet’s Coffee for a quick coffee break, but only had 30 minutes? Bike. Needed to get from South Campus to North Campus really quickly? Bike. Had to meet up with my friends at the Davis Street CTA Station to catch a train before it left? Bike.

Most of my weekends consisted of going on bike rides with my friends to either the Bahá’í House of Worship or around the Lakefill. These are probably some of the best memories I had of my time in Evanston this summer, and it really expanded the reach of where I was able to explore from the places I spent the most time in while living on campus.

Point being, getting a bike was one of the wisest off-campus living decisions I ever made, and certainly made my living experience so much more enjoyable, accessible and convenient. Now that I’m looking to move off-campus for my third year at NU, having a bike is something I already know will make living off-campus so much easier. 

After all, living off-campus is already stressful enough, especially for your first time. You’re fully independent, have to pay rent, deal with your landlord, maintenance and food, so why add transportation to the growing list of inconveniences? 

Simply don’t. Get a bike! 

Diego Ramos Bechara is a Medill sophomore. You can contact him at rthwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to . The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.